Airtel Might Soon Launch 4G Smartphones for Just Rs. 2,500

Airtel to launch low-cost 4G phone in India

With Reliance Jio reportedly prepping to launch an affordable Android smartphone in association with Google, a new report now suggests that Airtel is likely to follow suit to better compete with its arch-nemesis.

As per an Economic Times report, India’s erstwhile largest wireless carrier is in talks with smartphone makers to develop low-cost 4G handsets that the company plans to bundle with its mobile connections.

The devices will be full-fledged ‘smartphones’ that will cost only around Rs. 2,500 ($35). ET further adds that Airtel will offer both locked and unlocked devices under this initiative. The details are, however, scarce at the moment. Locked devices will be a bit of a novelty in the Indian market, so it will be interesting to see how they will be received by consumers across the country.

US carriers are well-known for offering locked smartphones, thus, reducing the huge burden of paying in full up-front. You can opt for the service plan you prefer and then pay out the same over a certain period of time. This not only gets you a new device but the calling and data services at an attractive price. Now, imagine this model replicated for a budget phone (already tested via JioPhone) in a market like India.

Meanwhile, the report is seemingly corroborated by Light Reading. A senior executive at a domestic manufacturer has confirmed that Airtel is indeed working with several homegrown brands such as Karbonn, Lava, and Micromax, to launch co-branded 4G devices locked to its network.

“Yes, Airtel is exploring the option of coming up with bundled offers or devices with Airtel SIM lock-in. However, I will not be able to comment further on it because of confidentiality”, the unnamed official reportedly told the publication.

The news comes less than a week after reports suggested that Reliance Jio is looking to launch new ‘affordable’ Android smartphones before the end of this year. The company had announced a tie-up with Google earlier this year for precisely this reason, so it will be interesting to see how things will go in the coming days.

VIA LightReading
SOURCE The Economic Times (Paywalled)
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